The New Jersey Devils (25-31-12) will look to snap their 10-game losing streak against the Philadelphia Flyers (32-29-8) in their third of five meetings this season. The Devils game against the Jets Tuesday night was postponed to March 28th so the losing streak lived another day.
The Devils have won both meetings between the two teams this season, outscoring the Flyers 8-1. Their first meeting was back in December, a 4-0 shutout for Cory Schneider (16 saves). P.A. Parenteau, Miles Wood, Adam Henrique, and Kyle Palmieri all scored goals; Henrique had a two-point night. Their second meeting was in January, when the Devils won 4-1 despite being outshot 36-22. Pavel Zacha, Palmieri, and Wood (2) all scored goals. Wood has three goals, seven shots, and nine penalties in minutes in the season series against Philadelphia thus far. Henrique has seven SOG, a goal and an assist, and 10 PIM against the Flyers this season so he could have a breakout game as well.
Keith Kinkaid will get the start in net tonight. Philadelphia has not decided on a starting goalie yet; however, Mason is winless in his last eight games in the Devils. He also did not get the start both previous games but replaced Anthony Stolarz and Michal Neuvirth (in the first and second games) in those two. Schneider did get the shutout the first game but Kinkaid made 35 saves on 36 shots (.972 percentage) in the second.
Michael Cammalleri, Jacob Josefson, and Devante Smith-Pelly did not practice yesterday but both Cammalleri and Josefson have started skating on their own. Kevin Rooney was sent back down to Albany (AHL) on Tuesday but John Quenneville was recalled yesterday and did practice with the team (and found himself on a power play unit). He will be back in the lineup tonight, replacing Blake Coleman (upper body). Steven Santini will also be a healthy scratch for the first time since he was called up and Dalton Prout will take his place.
The Devils last played against Arizona Saturday night, a 5-4 loss. They did dig themselves out of a 4-0 hole but could not complete the comeback; Schneider was pulled in favor of Kinkaid. As mentioned before, they are on a 10-game losing streak. The Flyers posted a 4-0 shutout over rival and defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh; Mason made 23 saves to earn the shutout and he got goal support from Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds (his 200th!), Claude Giroux, and Dale Weise. They have won just four of their last 13 games overall and have lost six of their last eight on the road.
The Devils do currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and third last in the league, only ahead of Arizona (barely) and Colorado; they also have the worst goal differential in the East (which doesn’t really come as a surprise). Philadelphia is still in the “hunt” for a wildcard spot to the playoffs but will likely not make it. They sit seven points behind the Islanders for the last wildcard spot with at least three teams in front of them. Those wildcard spots (at least the last one) will come down to the very end of the season, especially with how close both the Metropolitan and Atlantic divisions are.
It’s the Devils’ St. Patrick’s Day game so they will be in their red and green retro uniforms tonight; the first 9,000 fans will receive a green New Jersey Devils hat. Puck drops at 7PM.